For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.
For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.
As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.
The Bourbon Kings features a very entitled family who live in luxury, but peel back the layers and there are many skeletons lurking in their oh so numerous closets! The Bradford family has a drugged up mother who never leaves her room, a despotic and cruel father, and then there's the four children, although to be fair these are grown ups and not bratty little kids.
Edward is the eldest but he has left home following an horrendous kidnapping that's left him damaged. Max is mostly absent from this, the first book, but the flashbacks featuring him show a male with a devil may care attitude. Lane is the playboy brother who ran away but he's home now and determined to woo back Lizzie. Slight problem though as he's married and Lizzie is proving to be a tough nut to crack! Finally, we have Gin, the only female sibling, and she has made all kinds of mistakes in the past; but this poor little rich girl just hasn't learnt and unfortunately is set for a lot more pain. So these are our players and the game is about to get very murky indeed!
I've seen all the comparisons to Dallas and Dynasty and indeed Ms Ward doesn't shy away from these thoughts either, which meant at times I smiled at the subtle pop culture references but then this is the woman who brought us the BDB! I cannot believe I'm thinking this, but in many ways the romance as Lane and Lizzie reconnect felt superfluous to the story. I got about forty percent in and was absolutely riveted by all the shenanigans and double dealings, not to mention deaths! Oh yes, a wildly twisting plot and don't worry about Lane's wife because if like me, you hate cheaters then fear not, Ms Ward doesn't disappoint.
Not the most engaging romance I've read but I really liked that Lane grew up and was prepared to take responsibility. If honest, it's Edward who stole the show for me and I'm looking forward to his story. So it took me a while to really connect, but when the southern charm hits it does so in spades! I'm sure most readers will be enthralled by the Bradford family because I know I am!
I was gifted a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.